Performance Consulting 3rd Edition

A Strategic Process to Improve, Measure, and Sustain Organizational Results

Dana Gaines Robinson (Author) | James C. Robinson (Author) | Jack J. Phillips (Author) | Patricia Pulliam Phillips (Author) | Dick Handshaw (Author)

Publication date: 05/04/2015

Bestseller over 95,000+ copies sold

Performance Consulting
In America, organizations spend $175 billion in training initiatives and more than $500 billion in human resource solutions every year yet often have little to show for it. One reason is that people “jump to solutions” before they identify the causes of the problem. Performance consultants are effective because they partner with clients to clarify business goals and determine root causes for gaps between desired and current results. Only then are specific solutions agreed upon and implemented.

This third edition of the classic book that introduced performance consulting adds a wealth of new material. There are new case examples throughout and four new chapters providing detailed steps for measuring results from performance consulting initiatives on five different levels, including ROI. The book includes a never-before-published Alignment and Measurement Model, allowing you to connect organizational needs and performance consulting initiatives designed to address those needs with the appropriate level of measurement.

This remains a profoundly practical book, featuring tools, models, and checklists. It will enable you to make a difference in your organization that is valued, measurable, and sustainable.

Read more and meet author below

Read An Excerpt


(member price: $32.36)
Free shipping on all orders from the BK Publishers store.
Or find a local bookseller with Indiebound.

Other Available Formats and Editions


(member price: $25.17)


(member price: $25.17)
Bulk Discounts
Rights Information

Featured Books

El corazón del liderazgo

What makes for a truly exceptional leader? Certainly, leaders need people skills, execution skills, a deep knowledge of industry trends, the...

More About This Product


In America, organizations spend $175 billion in training initiatives and more than $500 billion in human resource solutions every year yet often have little to show for it. One reason is that people “jump to solutions” before they identify the causes of the problem. Performance consultants are effective because they partner with clients to clarify business goals and determine root causes for gaps between desired and current results. Only then are specific solutions agreed upon and implemented.

This third edition of the classic book that introduced performance consulting adds a wealth of new material. There are new case examples throughout and four new chapters providing detailed steps for measuring results from performance consulting initiatives on five different levels, including ROI. The book includes a never-before-published Alignment and Measurement Model, allowing you to connect organizational needs and performance consulting initiatives designed to address those needs with the appropriate level of measurement.

This remains a profoundly practical book, featuring tools, models, and checklists. It will enable you to make a difference in your organization that is valued, measurable, and sustainable.

Back to Top ↑

Meet the Authors

Visit Author Page - Dana Gaines Robinson

Dana Gaines Robinson is a recognized thought leader in the areas of performance consulting and human performance improvement. For almost thirty years, as president and founder of Partners in Change, Inc., she has assisted HR, learning and development, and OD functions in organizations to transition from a traditional and tactical focus to one that is performance oriented and strategic.

With her husband, she is the coauthor of seven books and numerous articles; the books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Dana has received several awards, including the Distinguished Contribution Award from American Society for Training & Development (ASTD/ATD) and the Thomas Gilbert Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement from the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), and she is a Fellow in the Leadership and Organization Development Hall of Fame. She has also served on the ASTD board of directors.

Dana currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she is living her version of “retirement,” which includes consulting, coaching, speaking, volunteering, attending classes at local universities, biking the many North Carolina trails, traveling, and enjoying fun times with family and friends. 

Click here to learn more about Partners In Change

Visit Author Page - James C. Robinson

James C. Robinson is a leader in the areas of performance consulting and human performance improvement. For more than two decades, Jim served as chairman of Partners in Change, Inc., and consulted with hundreds of organizations, assisting them in achieving business goals through the use of the Performance Consulting Process and techniques. Jim has received several awards and acknowledgments throughout his career, including the Distinguished Contribution Award from ASTD and the Thought Leadership Award from the ISA. Most recently, in 2013, Jim received the Thomas Gilbert Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement from ISPI. Prior to joining Dana at Partners in Change, Jim was vice president of Development Dimensions International (DDI), where he was the chief architect of Interaction Management, DDI’s renowned supervisory development program. Jim and Dana have coauthored several books, including two previous editions of Performance Consulting (1995 and 2008), Strategic Business Partner (2005), and Zap the Gaps! (2002), a book coauthored with Ken Blanchard.

Jim retired in 2008 and is currently residing in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Click here for more information on Partners In Change 

Visit Author Page - Jack J. Phillips

Dr. Jack J. Phillips is a world-renowned expert on accountability, measurement, and evaluation. Jack provides consulting services for Fortune 500 companies and major global organizations. He is the author or editor of more than seventy-five books and conducts workshops and presents at conferences throughout the world. 

Jack has received several awards for his books and work. On three occasions, Meeting News named him one of the 25 Most Powerful People in the Meetings and Events Industry, based on his work in the area of return on investment (ROI). The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) presented him with an award for one of his books and honored an ROI study with its highest award for creativity. ASTD/ATD gave Jack its highest award, Distinguished Contribution to Workplace Learning and Development for his work on ROI. Jack’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and Fortune magazine. He has been interviewed by several television networks, including CNN. Jack served as president of ISPI from 2012 to 2013. 

His expertise in measurement and evaluation is based on more than twenty-seven years of corporate experience in the aerospace, textile, metals, construction materials, and banking industries. Jack’s professional experiences include serving as the training and development manager for two Fortune 500 firms. He has also worked as a senior human resource officer in two firms, as president of a regional bank, and as a management professor at a major state university. This background led Jack to develop the ROI Methodology—a revolutionary process that provides bottom-line figures and accountability for all types of learning, performance improvement, human resources, technology, and public policy programs.

Click here to learn more about the ROI Institute

Visit Author Page - Patricia Pulliam Phillips

Dr. Patti P. Phillips is president and CEO of the ROI Institute, the leading source of ROI competency building, implementation support, networking, and research. A renowned expert in measurement and evaluation, she helps organizations implement the ROI Methodology in fifty countries. 

Since 1997, following a thirteen-year career in the electric utility industry, Patti has embraced the ROI Methodology by committing herself to ongoing research and practice. To this end, she has implemented ROI in private and public sector organizations. She has conducted ROI impact studies on programs such as leadership development, sales,new-hire orientation, human performance improvement, K–12 educator development, and educators’ National Board Certification mentoring. She has authored or edited more than thirty books. 

Patti teaches others to implement the ROI Methodology through the ROI Certification process, as a facilitator for ASTD’s ROI and Measuring and Evaluating Learning Workshops. She is also a professor of practice for the University of Southern Mississippi–Gulf Coast campus’s PhD in human capital development program. She serves as an adjunct faculty member for the UN System Staff College in Turin, Italy, where she teaches the ROI Methodology through the college’s Evaluation and Impact Assessment workshop and Measurement for Results-Based Management. She serves on numerous doctoral dissertation committees, assisting students as they develop their own research on measurement, evaluation, and ROI.

Click here to visit the ROI Institute

Visit Author Page - Dick Handshaw

Dick Handshaw is chairman of Handshaw, Inc., a firm he founded in 1985. Dick is a consultant, speaker, author, and champion for innovation and quality in instructional design. He is a pioneer in the field, having been one of the first instructional designers to create computer-based training with interactive video in 1980. With thirty-five years of experience as a learning and performance improvement professional, Dick has served as a consultant to many organizations, assisting them in establishing a results-oriented training practice. Dick and his staff developed the Handshaw Instructional Model, which is used by many organizations today. He has served in local politics and has held positions on two bank boards. He has also served on the Charlotte, North Carolina, ASTD/ATD chapter board and was the founding president of the Charlotte ISPI chapter. Dick has presented at various international conferences such as Training Magazine, ASTD, and ISPI. He earned a master’s degree in instructional systems technology from Indiana University in 1979. His book Training That Delivers Results: Instructional Design That Aligns with Business Goals was released in 2014.

Click here for more information on

Back to Top ↑

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables

Introduction: Stop Jumping to Solutions and Make Performance Your Business!
What Is the Alternative?
Performance Consulting Process
The Proof

Performance Consulting: The Process
Types of Work
Our Partners in the Performance Consulting Process
The Performance Consulting Process
Performance Consulting Pointers

Performance Consulting: The Mental Model and Logic
The Need Hierarchy
Gaps Map: Here's How It's Done
Performance Consulting Pointers

Identify Strategic Opportunities

3 Build Client Partnerships
Performance Consulting Pointers

Identify Strategic Opportunities Reactively
Reframing—What Is It?
Core Practices to Use in Reframing Discussions
Reframing Requests: Here's How It's Done
Performance Consulting Pointers

Identify Strategic Opportunities Proactively
Triggers for Working Proactively
The Proactive Discussion
Conducting Proactive Discussions: Here's How It's Done
Performance Consulting Pointers

Assess Business and Performance Needs

Define the SHOULDs
Defining Business SHOULDs
Defining Performance SHOULDs
Collecting Data
Defining Organizational SHOULDS
Building Performance Models: Here's How It's Done
Shortcuts for Forming a Performance or Competency Model
Performance Consulting Pointers

Assess the IS
Business IS
Performance IS
Data Sources
IS Assessment: Here's How It's Done
Shortcuts for Doing an IS Assessment
Performance Consulting Pointers

Identify CAUSEs and Select Solutions
Identifying Root Causes, Not Symptoms
Designing CAUSE Assessments
Reporting Results
Interpreting Data
CAUSE Analysis: Here's How It's Done
Shortcuts for Obtaining CAUSE Data
Performance Consulting Pointers

Implement and Measure Solutions

Alignment and Measurement Model
Client Preferences for Measurement Information
Alignment and Measurement Model
Alignment and Measurement Logic
Alignment and Measurement Model: Here's How It's Done
Performance Consulting Pointers

Develop and Implement the Measurement Plan
Guidelines for Effective Measurement
Measurement Data as Diagnostic Data
Measurement Objectives and Plans: The What, How, Who
and When
The Use of Technology
Measuring Results: Here's How It's Done
Shortcuts for Measuring Results
Performance Consulting Pointers

Determine Return on Investment (ROI)
Methods of Isolating the Effects of the Solution
Converting Data to Monetary Values
Determining Monetary Value of a Unit of Measure
Identifying Intangible Benefits
Determining Costs of a Performance Consulting Initiative
Calculating ROI Measures
Shortcuts to Determining the ROI
Performance Consulting Pointers

Report and Sustain Results
12 Report Results and Develop Plans for Sustaining

Preparing for the Meeting
Conducting the Meeting
Sustaining Performance, Organizational, and Business Results
Knowing When to Actively Reengage
Shortcuts for Reporting Results
Performance Consulting Pointers

Conclusion: Commit Now to Make Performance Your Business

Performance Consulting and Measurement Toolkit
About the Authors

Back to Top ↑


Performance Consulting


Performance Consulting: The Process

If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.

—W. Edwards Deming

What is performance consulting? We define it as a strategic process that produces business results by maximizing performance of people and organizations. The use of the word strategic is purposeful. Strategic work is critical to sustaining future business and organizational success. Performance consulting is a process used to partner with management on these types of initiatives. However, strategic work is not the only type of work we support. This chapter begins with a look at the types of work in which performance consultants engage and the people with whom they partner. It then describes the performance consulting process.


Performance consultants typically encounter three categories of work when working with a function that is focused on the “people side” of business.

Transactional Work

Transactional work is administrative in nature. Typically this work addresses the needs of a specific individual. When a manager seeks guidance in how to interpret a specific organizational policy or when an employee inquires about the status of her tuition reimbursement payment, transactional requests are received. Procurement managers need to process requests regarding suppliers, and call center representatives need to respond to questions from customers—each of which is a transactional request. This work must be done effectively and promptly. This category of work is important, but it is not strategic. Transactional work is increasingly being outsourced or transitioned to self-service through technology. The goal of many HR, learning, OD, and other functions today is to accomplish transactional work through alternative means, thus freeing up time to work on more strategic opportunities.

Tactical Work

Tactical work focuses on the design and implementation of solutions that support successful workgroup performance. Examples include utilizing an e-learning methodology for compliance training or the introduction of a more efficient work process. Tactics are intended to support a strategy. The problem is that many tactical solutions are implemented with minimal or no linkage to a strategic goal. In these instances, the solutions are essentially programs or events. How many times have we seen a manager take a single action, such as reorganizing the function, in hopes of achieving greater efficiency? Yet over time, greater efficiency is not achieved because other needed changes are not implemented. Or what about a training program rolled out to hundreds of people with limited connection to a business goal? Solutions implemented as stand-alone tactics have minimal probability of a long-term impact on business results. Certainly there are times when a single solution is appropriate—for example, to certify employees in handling specific types of projects. But more often than not, single solutions do not bring about sustained change in performance or long-term business results. Instead, they consume valuable resources in terms of money, people, and time.

Strategic Work

Strategic work benefits the long-term and overall aims and interests of the organization. It requires clear business goals that guide the performance requirements of people who support those goals. Strategic work is inclusive of tactical work—a strategy with no tactics is just a dream. As performance consultants, we want to ensure that the work we do to design and implement tactics directly supports one or more strategic goals of the organization.

How do you know you are working on a strategic initiative? The characteristics of strategic work are as follows:

Images It focuses on business units, functions, or the entire enterprise. It is macro, not micro, in focus.

Images It is long-term in scope, frequently taking actions that will benefit the organization over the long term (over one or more years) and not short term (the next quarter).

Images It is directly linked to one or more business goals or needs of the organization.

Images It is solution-neutral in its early stages. The role of a performance consultant is to work with clients to identify the problem or opportunity before beginning to work on tactics.

Images It requires multiple actions to be implemented; single solutions do not yield strategic results.

As a performance consultant, it is important to focus on the strategic results needed and not just the tactical solutions to be implemented. You want to make sure you are not just doing something, but that you are doing the right thing. Chapters 6 through 8 will help you accomplish this, because doing the right thing generally requires some level of assessment.


When you work strategically, you are focused on delivering results to the business or organization. You, however, cannot achieve these results alone. Many factors are controlled by business leaders, factors that can be changed only by those leaders. Partnering with these individuals becomes critical to your success as a performance consultant.

It is important to clearly identify the appropriate individual(s) with whom you should partner when working on any type of performance consulting initiative. We use the term client to refer to the individual with whom you should partner. You may prefer another term, such as customer or partner. A common mistake made by performance consultants is determining too late in the process that they are not working with the “true” client. A client is someone who

Images owns (has accountability for) achieving business results within the organization and in this way has something to gain (or lose) from the success (or failure) of the initiative;

Images has authority and power to make things happen, including the garnering of resources required to support a specific initiative;

Images is within the chain of command of the employees whose performance is to be changed in some manner; and

Images frequently, although not always, acts as a sponsor of the initiative and is the primary funder of it.


Clients come in two “flavors”: sustained and project.

Sustained clients meet the criteria just listed and, because of their position and influence within the organization, are people with whom a partnership is maintained independent of any current project or initiative. Your level of communication and contact with these clients is sustained and continuous. Generally, sustained clients are located in the mid- to upper levels in an organization. Job titles of sustained clients include president, chief executive officer, vice president, chief operating officer, general manager, country manager, and director.

Project clients meet the criteria noted for a specific project. Your communication with project clients will be robust during the life of the project and will decrease when the project has been completed. These are individuals whose position and power generally do not warrant the intensive communication on a sustained basis. However, their importance relative to a specific project does require a strong partnership during that initiative. Frequently, projects are supported by client teams where several individuals have ownership for some aspect of the initiative; they work together as a team to support the project. For example, if the business goal is to successfully introduce a new product to the marketplace, a client team may consist of the vice president of sales, vice president of marketing, and vice president of supply chain management. Client teams are almost always required for enterprise-wide projects.

All of this yields yet another characteristic of strategic work: performance consultants can work in a strategic manner only when they have direct access to the client for the initiative. As a performance consultant, you need to influence clients as they make decisions relative to performance and business goals. It is virtually impossible to influence someone with whom you do not have direct access. This is all the more reason to be thoughtful about with whom you will need a sustained client relationship. We will discuss techniques for gaining access and deepening sustained client partnerships in Chapter 3. Here are a couple important questions for you to consider:

1. With whom do I currently have a sustained partnership in my organization?

2. With whom should I have a sustained partnership?


Stakeholder is a term used frequently today with regard to projects and initiatives. We want to clarify the difference between a stakeholder and a client. Clients own and are accountable for the business results that the initiative is addressing. For example, clients are responsible for achieving sales goals, providing superior customer service, or reaching profit goals. Clients are also the ultimate decision makers. While stakeholders have a vested interest in the outcome and may have accountability to achieve some portion of the results, they do not have accountability for the entire set of results. An example would include first-line supervisors of employees whose performance is to be improved in some manner. As stakeholders, supervisors are accountable for those results within their span of control. They will also have a significant influence on the outcome of the entire initiative. They can stress the importance of using a new approach on the job and how that will help the department “make its numbers.” Therefore, strategies to engage stakeholders should be considered when designing and implementing solutions.

Employees are not stakeholders; they are the group of individuals whose performance is to change. Employees will benefit from, or be hindered by, the actions of stakeholders. The key to keep in mind: the ultimate decision maker and your partner for the initiative is the client. However, a successful performance consulting engagement requires interaction with and participation from stakeholders.


As performance consultants, we become aware of a need to improve business results in a variety of ways—a discussion with a line manager client, a request from a middle manager, an alert from a staff specialist, to name a few. The need to improve business results is identified on the “front end.” If the need is warranted, it begins a process that results in improved business and measurable performance results on the “back end.” Let’s look at the steps contained in the Performance Consulting Process as shown in Figure 1.1.

Identify Strategic Opportunities

The first phase of the Performance Consulting Process involves activities associated with identifying opportunities where we can partner with our clients. Sometimes these opportunities are identified in a reactive manner (step 1). This occurs when a client requests a specific solution. In these situations, the goal is to reframe the request so that the focus is on the results the client seeks, rather than the solution that the client has requested. Techniques for reframing are described in Chapter 4.

FIGURE 1.1 Performance Consulting Process


Opportunities to partner with a client can also be identified in a proactive manner (step 2). When using this approach, you initiate discussions with your client about future goals. You want to raise your client’s awareness about factors that should be considered regarding specific goals. These may include how best to prepare a workgroup to implement a new strategy or how to determine supervisor readiness to support the new strategy. The key is to discuss performance issues that are not currently on your client’s radar screen but are contributors to business results. Techniques for proactive discussions appear in Chapter 5.

Whether a need is identified reactively or proactively, it is important to explore the situation sufficiently to determine if it is best managed in a strategic manner (requiring some level of assessment) or in a tactical manner (moving directly into solution implementation). These decisions occur in step 3 of the process. They represent a key judgment you will make, frequently in the moment of the discussion. It is your responsibility as a performance consultant to sort and sift requests, using the information you obtain from your client to determine the most appropriate route to take in moving ahead. A strategic situation meets the following criteria:

Images One or more business needs are directly supported by the initiative.

Images You have direct access to the client(s) accountable for achieving the business needs.

Images The client is seeking performance change from people in one or more employee groups.

Images The client is willing to share accountability with you for producing the required change.

Images The client will provide you with time and access to the appropriate people so you can obtain necessary information before deciding on and implementing solutions.

Images The situation focuses on a group of people, not on a few individuals.

To qualify as a strategic opportunity, each of these criteria must be met. It is possible that a criterion may not be evident during the early stages of the engagement. For example, the fourth criterion—that the client is willing to share accountability for producing change—is often difficult to affirm following a single meeting with the client. Will this client truly share accountability over the long term? As long as you have no reason to think the client will not share accountability, move ahead. Should it become evident over time that the client is unwilling to share accountability for producing change, it will be necessary to address that lack of support—and perhaps even stop the initiative.

Assess Business and Performance Needs

Any situation determined to be strategic must move into the assessment phase of the process. In this phase, you conduct one or more of the assessments described in Chapters 4 through 6. You will be conducting a solution-neutral assessment. By solution-neutral, we mean that you begin the assessment with an open mind as to what solutions may be needed. The data from your assessment will help determine what solutions are required. Tactical work often requires assessments. The difference is that a tactical assessment focuses on obtaining information to ensure that an agreed-on solution is designed and implemented successfully. For example, a learning needs assessment is one that focuses on identifying the specific skills and knowledge required for the learning solution; a performance management process (PMP) assessment is one that focuses on determining elements to include in the design and execution of that PMP. Each of these assessments occurs to ensure that the tactical solution will be designed and implemented effectively. Strategic assessments, in contrast, result in information that is used to decide on what specific solutions will be implemented.

Three types of strategic assessments are possible in the Performance Consulting Process:

Images SHOULD assessments. The goal of these assessments is to determine, in specific terms, what operational results are required of the business and what people need to do day-to-day if these results are to be achieved. In essence, you are identifying the desired state for both the business and the performance of people who support that business.

Images IS assessments. When conducting an IS assessment, you are identifying the current state for both the business and employees. What are the current operational results for the business? What are employees currently doing on the job to support those goals? What are they not doing? With this information, we can identify the gap that exists between the desired and current state.

Images CAUSE assessments. This assessment answers the question “What are the root causes for gaps in business and performance results?” It is vital to focus on root causes, and not symptoms, when taking actions to close gaps. Once you know root causes, you can select solutions and begin the process of designing and implementing those solutions. The data obtained through strategic assessments becomes the basis for the measurement objectives and processes that you and your client agree on.

In Chapters 6, 7, and 8, we discuss how to conduct these three assessments. We include techniques for obtaining multiple kinds of data during an assessment. Clearly, a great deal of valuable information is obtained before agreeing on and implementing solutions.

Implement and Measure Solutions

Solution selection, design, piloting, and implementation occur during this phase. The Performance Consulting Process flowchart shows two routes to this phase of work. For tactical projects, you move directly from step 3 to solution design and implementation. For strategic projects, you partner with your client and obtain more information through the assessment phase. In step 5, you determine the solutions. In step 6, you plan, design, and select the specific solutions to be implemented. You also agree on a measurement strategy. Five levels of measurement are possible:

Images Reaction: Are people viewing the change and the solutions in a positive manner?

Images Capability: Has the capability of people increased and is the organization supporting the change?

Images Performance: Has the on-the-job performance of people involved in the initiative been enhanced?

Images Business: Did the needed operational results occur?

Images Return on investment (ROI): Do the benefits to the organization outweigh the initiative’s cost?

During the assessment phase, measures associated with these five levels are identified; however, agreement on which levels of measurement to focus on is reached with your client when deciding on solutions (step 6). Implementation of agreed-on solutions occurs in step 7. As you can imagine, this step often requires implementation of multiple solutions. In fact, one of the most crucial roles of a performance consultant is to coordinate and track the many solutions that are part of any initiative. If these solutions are to have sustained impact on business results, you as a performance consultant must be rigorous in tracking the effectiveness of the solutions being implemented.

While the Performance Consulting Process shows that measurement data is obtained in step 8, the actual collection of the measurement data can occur during and following solution implementation. Therefore, you want to have your measurement strategy in place prior to solution roll out. Technology and software programs enable data collection and analysis. Chapters 9 and 10 describe the development of a measurement strategy and the creation of a data collection plan. It is important to work closely with your clients as you plan and implement the measurement process to ensure that credible, reliable data is both obtained and discussed.

Report and Sustain Results

In the final phase of the Performance Consulting Process, you share the measurement results with your client and other stakeholders (step 9). When results are positive, it is time to celebrate. When results are disappointing, it is time to discuss the reasons for the insufficient results, agreeing on additional solutions and actions that will improve results. Frequently, you and your client may both be celebrating a positive outcome while also agreeing on additional actions to ensure long-term success. Remember that the status quo can be compelling to participants in a change process. Removing focus from the initiative and the actions to sustain the change may possibly cause the organization to revert to the prior state. This “flavor of the month” approach occurs when people’s attention moves elsewhere, returning to what was done previously. Chapter 12 describes what actions you and your client can take to ensure your change initiatives and the results that follow are more than a flavor of the month—they are a sustainable part of the organization’s success.

One final observation about the Performance Consulting Process: Across the top of the flowchart are the words “client partnerships formed and maintained.” Developing strong partnerships is not a step in the process but rather a thread woven throughout it. We believe partnerships are the “art” that makes performance consulting work. Without access to clients and the formation of a partnership based on mutual trust and respect, we do not get the opportunity to partner on strategic initiatives.

The Performance Consulting Process provides a flow of steps for the work we do as performance consultants. There is, however, another key element: the logic by which we do our work. In essence, this logic is the mental model we bring to situations that will guide our behavior, interactions, and decisions. This logic is discussed in Chapter 2.


1. Three categories of work are required in organizations: transactional, tactical, and strategic. Performance consulting is a process used to identify and address strategic needs.

2. Strategic needs are directly linked to one or more business goals and are “owned” by people with whom performance consultants must partner. These individuals are referred to as clients.

3. The Performance Consulting Process is a four-phased workflow that yields business results by maximizing performance of people and organizations.



A tool that supports content from this chapter is listed here.
This tool can be purchased and downloaded from the Berrett-Koehler website.

Please see page 253 for download instructions.

Images Performance Consulting Process

Back to Top ↑


“The third edition of Performance Consulting is exquisite. The four phases, nine steps, numerous tools, and useful cases make this a definitive user's guide to delivering organization results. The ideas can be readily applied to make sure that effort equals impact. What a rare combination.”
—Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and Partner, The RBL Group

“This revised edition of
Performance Consulting is perfect! Comprehensive, systematically organized, clearly written, professional yet friendly, and filled with excellent explanations, illustrations, and ready-to-use tools.”
—Harold D. Stolovitch, Emeritus Professor, Workplace Learning and Performance, Université de Montréal, and author of Telling Ain't Training and Training Ain't Performance

“No physician worth her or his license would assume patients come in solely for a prescription or a procedure; patients seek to get better. Yet people-focused practitioners too often get prescription hungry instead of performance driven when confronted with an ailing organization. Performance Consulting is a potent tool and practical resource for everyone who practices in the talent development and organizational improvement field.”
—Chip R. Bell, author of Managers as Mentors

“I am thrilled about the new edition of Performance Consulting. The consulting questions, processes, and approaches in this book can be used with any level in an organization and across every discipline. A must-read for CLOs and their teams.”
—Tamar Elkeles, PhD, Chief Learning Officer, Qualcomm

“This is a powerful update of a classic book. The third edition, done in collaboration with Dick Handshaw, includes the important thinking of Jack and Patti Phillips on how to demonstrate the results and impact of performance consulting efforts.”
—William J. Rothwell, PhD, SPHR, CPLP Fellow, Professor, Penn State University, University Park, and President, Rothwell & Associates, Inc.

“Bringing together the constructs of performance consulting and measurement, this book offers leaders and practitioners the evidence-based approach that will drive lasting strategic impact in our organizations. It's the most exciting business book of the decade!”
—Jean Larkin, EdD, Vice President, Talent Management, Tyco

Back to Top ↑